If you have a small, painful bump on or near your lip, you might have a cold sore. This blister often fills with fluid and impacts the appearance of your smile for several days before healing and fading from sight.
Cold sores may also appear on other parts of the face, like the nostrils. Though they usually only linger for a week or less, they often recur and reappear once or twice each year.
Certain antiviral creams can treat these uncomfortable spots, but your local dentist may also bring you relief. Read on to learn more about how dentistry can help you if you have a cold sore on your mouth.
Causes of Cold Sores
A cold sore is a type of virus. The original contraction of this virus may result in a fever, but the virus may remain in your system after these symptoms fade. This can mean you will continue to develop new cold sores down the road.
Exposure to the virus comes from physical contact and close proximity. Therefore, actions like kissing or sharing drinks may pass the virus from one person to another. You should not touch a cold sore to minimize the spreading of the virus.
A breakout of chronic cold sores can occur at any time, though they tend to appear when a patient feels sick with another medical condition or if they feel tired. Some patients also note sensitivity to sunlight which may cause this sore to form.
Inform Your Dentist If You Have a Cold Sore
Because cold sores are contagious, you should call your dentist if you have an appointment scheduled but have developed a cold sore on your mouth. Your dentist can determine whether to continue with your appointment based on your symptoms and the intended procedure.
Some dentists will recommend rescheduling dental work because certain treatments may cause pain for the patient. However, some dental practices offer targeted treatments to relieve cold sore symptoms. You will need to call your dentist to learn what will best suit your unique case.
Try Dental Solutions for Cold Sores
Advancements in dental technology mean that dentists can now use lasers, acute beams of light, for minimally invasive dental procedures. They can use these same tools to treat patients with cold sores.
A dentist can use a diode laser to target and kill the virus that causes cold sores. After this session with the dentist, you can see improvement in the look and feel of the cold sore within 24 hours, a much shorter period than waiting for it to go away on its own. Some patients may need more than one appointment for best results.
Continued laser therapy may lead to less frequent cold sore breakouts and smaller blisters over time. The patient will not need any anesthetic to remain comfortable during the procedure. Consult with your dentist to learn if this treatment will improve the look of your smile as well as your oral health.